TURNERS FALLS — Superintendent Richard Martin and Director of Career and Technical Education Matthew West are pleased to announce that Franklin County Technical School hosted a successful event recently that focused on increasing opportunities for female students at the school.
The Tradeswomen of Tomorrow event, held Friday, Nov. 5, highlights women in nontraditional trades such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, automotive and more. During the event all freshmen female students took part in a panel discussion featuring tradeswomen from the various industries.
The first Tradeswomen of Tomorrow event at the school was held in 2019. It was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before returning to in-person this year.
During the event, freshmen students had the opportunity to meet with the tradeswomen, ask questions and have discussions in smaller break-out groups. The goal is to give the students a better idea of what to expect working in these fields as well as give them personal connections with professionals in the different industries represented.
FCTS Advanced Manufacturing Instructor Nicole Miller, one of the panelists for the event, said she is seeing more female students exploring nontraditional trade options at the school and showing an interest in a wider variety of courses than ever before.
“The hope is that this interest will translate into more females graduating and advancing to these careers when they leave school,” Miller said. “We have so many talented female students at this school and it is important that we give them all of the opportunities that are given to their male counterparts.”
Miller and Melissa Leary, a FCTS graduate who is now a professional electrician, spearheaded the event.
Given the success of the event over the past few years, the school hopes to expand the Tradeswomen of Tomorrow model into various clubs and activities at the school.
The full list of panelists who participated in the Tradeswomen of Tomorrow event included:
- Nicole Miller, FCTS Advanced Manufacturing instructor
- Melissa Leary, FCTS graduate, electrician
- Lily Thompson, carpenter
- Chelsea Fenton, laborer
“I want to thank Nicole and Melissa for their hard work making this event such a success, and the rest of the panelists for taking the time to share their stories and backgrounds with our students,” Superintendent Martin said. “One of the most impactful experiences for a student is meeting real-world professionals who are working in the fields they are considering, and we will continue to do what we can to expose our students to these types of hands-on lessons.”